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The comarca is a community of concrete relationships; larger regional identities are more easily characterized as imagined but emerge from a tradition of local difference and acquire some of their strength from that tradition.A recognition of difference among Spaniards is woven into the very fabric of Spanish identity; most Spaniards begin any discussion of their country with a recitation of Spain's diversity, and this is generally a matter of pride.The people of hamlets, villages, towns, and cities—the basic political units of the Spanish population—and sometimes even neighborhoods ( barrios ) hold local identities that are rooted not only in differences of local geography and microclimate but also in perceived cultural differences made concrete in folklore and symbolic usages.Throughout rural Spain, despite the strength of localism, there is also a perception of shared culture in rural zones called comarcas.The majority of Spaniards endorse the significance of local differences together with an overarching unity, which makes them regard Spain's inhabitants as Spanish despite their variety.This image of variety is itself a shared element of Spanish identity.Spain's perimeter is mountainous, the mountains generally rising from relatively narrow coastal plains.The country's interior, while transected by various mountain ranges, is high plateau, or meseta, generally divided into the northern and southern mesetas.

It is essential to realize that outsiders can legitimately consider some of Spain's diversity as imagined every bit as much as its unity might be—that is, Spaniards sort their differences with a fine-toothed comb and create measures of local and regional differences which might fail tests of general significance by other measures.Such general geographic distinctions as north/ south, coastal/interior, mountain/lowland/plateau, and Mediterranean/Atlantic are overwhelmed by the variety of local geographies that exist within all of the larger natural and historical regions.Great local diversity flourishes on Spanish terrain and is part of Spain's essence.Perhaps because of this power, Cataluña has suffered longer from periodic repression at the hands of the central Castilian state than has any other of modern Spain's regions; this underlies a separatist movement of note in contemporary Cataluña.The state now known as Spanish has long been dominated by Castile, the region that covers much of the Spanish meseta and the marriage of whose future queen, Isabel, to Fernando of Aragón in 1469 brought about the consolidation of powers that underlay the development of modern Spain.

It is essential to realize that outsiders can legitimately consider some of Spain's diversity as imagined every bit as much as its unity might be—that is, Spaniards sort their differences with a fine-toothed comb and create measures of local and regional differences which might fail tests of general significance by other measures.Such general geographic distinctions as north/ south, coastal/interior, mountain/lowland/plateau, and Mediterranean/Atlantic are overwhelmed by the variety of local geographies that exist within all of the larger natural and historical regions.Great local diversity flourishes on Spanish terrain and is part of Spain's essence.Perhaps because of this power, Cataluña has suffered longer from periodic repression at the hands of the central Castilian state than has any other of modern Spain's regions; this underlies a separatist movement of note in contemporary Cataluña.The state now known as Spanish has long been dominated by Castile, the region that covers much of the Spanish meseta and the marriage of whose future queen, Isabel, to Fernando of Aragón in 1469 brought about the consolidation of powers that underlay the development of modern Spain.Other entities in Iberia are the Principality of Andorra in the Pyrenees and Gibraltar, which is under British sovereignty and is located on the south coast. The Atlantic Ocean washes Spain's north coast, the far northwest corner adjacent to Portugal, and the far southwestern zone between the Portuguese border and the Strait of Gibraltar.